Both cockatiels and budgies are often found together in the wild. They’re intelligent parrots, have dietary similarities, play in similar ways, and need company.
This can leave owners believing that cockatiels and budgies will become friends. While they may seem the same, they should never be cage mates.
Budgies and cockatiels can be friendly and live in the same home, often playing together with supervision. However, both birds are territorial and can become aggressive.
Budgies are energetic, teasing, and persistent, which can stress or anger a larger cockatiel.
They have different nutritional requirements and appetites, which can be disrupted when sharing a cage. Introduce cockatiels and budgies gradually, allowing them space and time to adjust to each other.
When kept in separate cages and given room to retreat, they can learn to be friends.
Can Cockatiels Be Kept With Budgies?
It’s OK to own a budgie and a cockatiel and let the two interact, but this must be done with your strict supervision. These two parrots are different from each other in:
- Activity levels
- Stress tolerance
- Aggression levels
A cockatiel and budgie can be dangerous to each other. A budgie is unlikely to harm a cockatiel physically, but it may stress and harass it.
This can lead to a loss in appetite, aggression, or depressive behavior. Cockatiels are larger and stronger than budgies with more powerful beaks, which could lead to injury.
That isn’t to say that cockatiels and budgies are enemies. In fact, they can be friends when properly introduced. However, a budgie will never get along with a cockatiel like it would another budgie.
Budgies are far more active and energetic than cockatiels. They like to tease and pester as a method of playing. In another budgie, this would be understood and reciprocated.
With a cockatiel, it may stress or annoy the larger parrot until it attacks the budgie. At the very least, playful food guarding could lead to the cockatiel missing crucial meals.
Keep your budgie and cockatiel separate and let them play from a safe distance. They can sing, dance, and call each other. If they’re friendly, they may huddle close and even play with toys as a pair.
However, if aggression or stress occurs, let them enjoy each other’s company from a distance.
Can Cockatiels and Budgies Live in the Same Cage?
Cockatiels and budgies need to be kept in separate cages.
Fights are more likely to break out and will be harder to stop inside one cage. Territorial issues can get out of hand, even in a large cage.
Additionally, letting them share food can disrupt their health and appetites.
Diet and Food
Although their diets are similar, budgies and cockatiels have different nutritional requirements, and they even need different amounts of food and water each day.
Seeds And Pellets
Seed mixes are designed with the budgie’s nutrition in mind.
According to the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, seed mixes contain carbohydrates, proteins, and fats proportional to the budgie’s body type.
The same is true for pellets, which are compressed meals and powders that will contain most (if not all) of a budgie’s essential nutrients.
Cockatiels require more fat in their diet. If your cockatiel were to consistently ingest your budgie’s food, it might start losing weight and getting malnourished over time.
There are even specific pellet mixes designed for each stage of a cockatiel’s life.
Fruits And Vegetables
Both budgies and cockatiels should eat fruits and vegetables but in different amounts.
Letting them share a food bowl can lead to your budgie overeating. In particular, fruit contains natural sugar. It should be offered sparingly to a budgie to avoid obesity or diarrhea.
Cockatiels are less territorial than budgies, but this changes during the breeding season.
If a male decides it’s time to seek a mate, he can become aggressive about his personal space, leading to conflict with budgies.
Budgie males are aggressive during mating season but less so than females. No matter the sex, a budgie is more likely to pick a fight and persistently harass its target when territorial.
This can turn lethal even with a peaceful cockatiel. When continuously pushed, the larger parrot may retaliate. At the least, it may grow stressed and develop health issues.
Cockatiels are tamed more quickly than budgies and tend to prefer human company. While budgies are friendly and bond closely with their owners, they pair best with other budgies.
So, you may find your cockatiel becoming more attached to you, which can anger your budgie. The smaller parrot may become territorial over you and start fights with the cockatiel.
Keeping the two parrots in different cages ensures less access to each other.
Settling disputes physically won’t be an issue. You also have a chance to interact with one apart from the other, so they don’t get jealous.
How to Introduce a Cockatiel to a Budgie
Budgies and cockatiels are more likely to get along when properly introduced. This should include:
- Keeping the parrots in separate cages and rooms at first.
- Allowing the new parrot 2-3 days to adjust to its new home before meeting the other.
- Placing the budgie and cockatiel’s cages in the same room but at a distance from each other.
- Allowing them to sing, dance, and see each other at a distance for 2-3 days.
- Placing the cages more closely together each day, a couple of feet at a time.
Observe how the budgie and cockatiel interact when the cages are close to each other. This will determine how you proceed:
- Biting, screaming, hissing, or hiding away should result in you moving the cages apart again.
- If the two act friendly, reward them with treats.
- If they are indifferent, give them more time together in separate cages.
Once the two are friendly, you can let them out of their cages.
Ideally, someone will be in charge of each parrot, so they can be separated if necessary. If not possible, let one perch nearby while you have the second parrot perching on you.
- Bring them close together and let them interact.
- Separate them if they act aggressively.
- Reward and praise them for acting friendly.
- Calling, nudging with their beaks, and mimicking each other are good behaviors.
- Biting, raised wings, or screaming is bad behavior.
If they respond badly, separate them and try the next day. If they react positively, let them perch together while you supervise. The key isn’t to allow either one to feel stressed or overwhelmed.
They should be friendly as long as they have enough space and can retreat when they’ve had enough. You can then stay nearby while the two parrots play.
Are Budgies and Cockatiels Compatible?
Budgies and cockatiels can be compatible with one another. Both species originate in Australia and often dwell in the same habitats. It’s not uncommon to see cockatiels and budgies interacting outdoors.
However, despite getting along in the wild, that isn’t always true in the home. Your pets won’t have miles of open air and forest to retreat when necessary or be able to enjoy their own space. Most conflicts between pet cockatiels and budgies arise from territorial behavior or overstimulation.
As long as they’re given space and time away from each other, they can learn to bond. Both cockatiels and budgies are social animals and need company to feel enriched.
By playing with you and each other, they can fulfill their mental stimulation needs. Playtime doesn’t need to be complicated or involved. A simple approach is:
- Letting them fly together in your home
- Teaching them words and songs
- Allowing them to dance and mimic each other
It’s recommended to feed them treats separately and provide enough toys for both. They should get along, provided they don’t need to compete for space, attention, food, or playthings.
Budgie Bullying Cockatiel
Of course, if you find the budgie bullying your cockatiel, keep them separate. Some budgies are more mischievous than others, and a docile cockatiel may be adversely affected.
Even more forthright cockatiels may get stressed by:
- Food guarding
- Nibbling or pecks
A cockatiel and budgie don’t need physical contact to entertain each other.
According to Companion Animal, having another parrot to sing to, dance with, and mimic at a distance can be enough. Behavioral problems stem from poor welfare.
Budgies can live in the same home as cockatiels, but they shouldn’t be housed in the same cage. The likelihood of fights is too high, which can be dangerous for budgies. Likewise, cockatiels can become stressed by an over-active budgie. So, they make good neighbors but not good cage mates.